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Need for Speed: Most Wanted is the name of two street Racing Games that are part the overall Need for Speed franchise published by Electronic Arts. The first Most Wanted was developed by then-main NFS developer EA Black Box and released on November 15, 2005 for Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 2, Nintendo GameCube, Xbox, and Xbox 360, the last of which had this game as one of its launch titles. It gained fame for being the first tuner culture game by EA that lets the player drive during daytime and to be chased by the police, as well as for its infamously cheesy storyline. There was also a PlayStation Portable release called 5-1-0. The second Most Wanted, a more socially-focused, much less story-driven reinterpretation of the 2005 game, was developed by Criterion Games. It was released on PlayStation 3 (with PlayStation Move support), Xbox 360note  (with Kinect voice support), Windows (mainly via the Origin service), and PlayStation Vita on October 30, 2012, with a Wii U version entitled Most Wanted U released in 2013. There was also a mobile version of that game developed by Firemonkeys Studios.

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The main plot of the 2005 game involves the Player (supposedly, the same one from the Need for Speed: Underground games) arriving in the city of Rockport with his blue and silver BMW M3 GTR (E46)note  alongside Mia Townsend, in her own Mazda RX-8 Mazdaspeed. After a close encounter with Sergeant Nathan Cross, he runs into resident Jerkass Clarence "Razor" Callahan, who doesn't waste a second to insult the player. Mia tells him to simply race against the player to prove who's better, but Razor simply reminds her that he's Number 15 on the Blacklist, and thus the player cannot challenge him until he has a notable reputation. The player begins building a fame, meeting Rog on the way, and eventually manages to challenge Razor, who reminds him that the winner gets the loser's car. Needless to say, Razor cheated and tampered with your BMW's oil system, causing your car to malfunction and therefore lose the race. Finally, to rub salt into the wound, you're arrested by none other than Cross.

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Later on, Mia comes to pick you up from the police station after you're released due to lack of evidence,note  but of course, not before Razor skyrockets to the top of the Blacklist with your car. However, you can get your first car and have a crack at defeating the Blacklist and evading the police. All you have are your skills, your Speedbreaker ability, your car, Rog, and Mia. You're going to need all that to beat the odds. It's you against the entire city, racers, police and civilians alike.

After rising through the ranks and finally beating Razor, you get back your BMW as a reward, then Mia reveals herself to be an undercover cop working for the Rockport Police Department and has the street racers under arrest, having used you as an Unwitting Pawn to help bring down the Blacklist. Feeling sorry for stabbing you in the back, she throws you the keys to your BMW (after taking them from Razor, who refused to do so), allowing you to escape from Cross trying to arrest you on-the-spot. However, he calls for the entire police force to come down on you at Heat Level 6, and soon you are swarmed with cops with nowhere to hide. A few minutes into the pursuit, Mia then calls you to escape the city by jumping over a Broken Bridge near the baseball stadium in Rosewood that has been closed off for the entire game. You thus race your car over to the road, jump over the gap, and leave Rockport for good. Cross has you listed on the FBI's Most Wanted list soon after, setting up the events of Need for Speed: Carbon.

The 2005 game's setting of Rockport would be reused and modified in 2010's Need for Speed: World, along with Carbon's Palmont City.

The 2012 game's plot, on the other hand, is way more bare-bones by comparison. After a woman's voice welcomes you to the city of Fairhaven and tells you a bit about how things work there, you drive your Aston Martin V12 Vantage over Connors Bridge, past an inactive toll booth, through a pair of tunnels, and arrive in Downtown Fairhaven. Coming up to your first Jack Spot, you quickly switch over to a Porsche 911 Carrera S and have a duel with the Aston Martin that you just arrived in. After beating it (hopefully considering it's an easy race), the woman explains about mods, EasyDrive, Speed Points, billboards, speed cameras, smash gates, the police, and the Most Wanted List (this game's version of the Blacklist), you are then free to do whatever you want to go up the ranks to beat and earn the "Most Wanted" cars. Yeah, not much to work with really; Need for Speed: Most Wanted — A Criterion Game is really a Spiritual Successor to the also storyless and nonlinear Burnout Paradise. In fact, one could call it Burnout Paradise with licensed cars and police chases (it even has Takedowns).

The 2012 game's multiplayer mode plays differently in terms of progression and events. Cars are unlocked based on your SpeedLevel accumulated through Speed Points earned in all various main versions of the game in both single-player and multiplayer (rather than just finding cars at Jack Spots like in single-player), events are played though playlists of five events each, and public sessions are completely server-controlled, among other differences.

The PC version of the 2012 game was available for free from February 2016 to around mid-March 2016 through Origin's "On the House" program.


10-85, we need those tropes here now!

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    Both Games 
  • A Taste of Power:
    • In 2005, it's the BMW M3 GTR, before you lose it in the sabotaged race. Later it returns as the 11th-Hour Superpower in the final pursuit. With custom performance mods added by Razor!
    • Defied in the single-player mode of Most Wanted 2012 with the Jack Spots. All cars in the game are immediately drivable after you complete a quick-and-easy tutorial race and find where each of them are on the map, except for the titular "Most Wanted" cars and any non-purchased DLC cars.
  • Bowdlerize: The 2005 game censored a lot of its' music. Which makes sense, considering their nature. The 2012 game also censored some songs, such as "I Love It" by Icona Pop.
  • Broken Bridge: The road leading to Palmont City is sealed out until the final pursuit. There are mods that leave it open, at all times, though. Also, the holo-barriers that block access to Camden Beach and Downtown Rockport in the earlier parts of the 2005 game.
    • Fairhaven has none of these, except (in later updates of the PC, PS3, and Xbox 360 versions) for the holo-barrier blocking access to Hughes International Airport for those who do not have Terminal Velocity.
  • Call-Back:
    • Bayview, the setting of Need for Speed: Underground 2, is mentioned twice in the 2005 game:
      • In one of the challenge series, when you're actually working for the police and trying to beat the Bayview police's time;
      • In Career Mode, where Rog tells you that a lot of people are placing bets in the imminent race between you and Razor, and that "people as far as Bayview are throwin' cash down on this".
    • The 2012 game has license plates based off of Criterion's previous racing games. Also, the arrivals/departures board at Hughes International Airport list previous locales from past Need for Speed games as destinations, as well as Paradise City from Burnout Paradise.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard: Courtesy of Rubber Band A.I..
  • Cool Cars: They're Need for Speed games. Do you expect anything less than this trope?
    • The main car of focus in the 2005 game is none other than the BMW M3 GTR (E46), with its pretty-looking blue and silver livery. It's become the series' most famous (and yes, wanted) car ever since. It got to the point that not only did the Most Wanted 2012's mobile version had it as the last unlockable car, it would later appear as the "Most Wanted" car for the main version's Need for Speed Heroes pack.
      • Fans of competing series Forza were happy when the car was not only a DLC car for Horizon, but the free car of its DLC pack for the month of its release. Oh, and yes, you can easily find recreations of the famous livery in Horizon's vinyl marketplace.note 
    • Pretty much any car can be this in Most Wanted 2005 if you modify them, and the later ones can be awesome even when stock!
    • While Most Wanted 2012 doesn't have the aftermarket customization that Black Box-era fans love, the better, more modern graphics of Criterion's game just shows how gorgeous its cars look. Hell, even the traffic looks good!
  • Cosmetic Awards:
    • Being one of the Xbox 360's launch titles, 2005 has only fifteen achievements, each one for defeating a member of the Blacklist. That's it. No achievement for the final pursuit, no achievement for the challenge series, and (thankfully) no multiplayer achievements.
    • Along with the numerous achievements in 2012 (including the ones for defeating the Most Wanted cars), there are the many, many license plate designs for 2012's multiplayer mode.
  • Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Hitting a cruiser's front half in a roadblock is usually considered suicide, and then there are Fairhaven's armored trucks...
  • Excuse Plot: 2005's plot is so cheesy that you can pretty much ignore it for the most part.
    • 2012 borders on No Plot? No Problem! with its "plot": Welcome to Fairhaven! Find some cars, explore, escape, and beat the "Most Wanted"! Have fun!
  • Expy: The level 6 police seems to be based on the FBI - black, unmarked corvettes reserved for the most dangerous suspects in the country.
    • Similarly, the level 7 police, with all of their SUVsnote , appear to be based on the SWAT.
    • Cameron Drive in Fairhaven City is very similar to Paradise City's Uphill Drive in terms of the layout and the placement of side routes.
  • Getting Arrested Is a Slap on the Wrist: Played straight in 2012 (lose all your accumulated Speed Points from the pursuit and return to your last-used Jack Spot), but averted in 2005. You actually have a limit in the earlier game on how many times a car can be stopped by the policenote , and if you do get arrested, you have to pay all the fines you accumulated with that car, which, depending on how reckless you are, can render you bankrupt. Let's not forget that, if all your cars are taken by the police, you lose the game.
  • Mighty Glacier: The Ford F-150 SVT Raptor is this in Most Wanted 2012. It's slow and handles stiffly, but it's the toughest racer vehicle in all of the game.
    • The Range Rover Evoque is a lighter example of this. If modified, however, it puts itself in Lightning Bruiser territory.
    • Then we have the Lenco Bearcat (SWAT truck) for the cops. So much so that it's nigh invulnerability makes it a juggernaut.
    • Challenge #46 from Most Wanted 2005 featured a cost-to-state mission where the player has to drive a garbage truck. Sure it's hilariously slow, but its huge size makes it very easy for taking down any cop that dares get in your way.
  • Nitro Boost: Well, of course. 2012 has three variants:
    • Burn acts like the 2005 game's nitro; it's usable at any non-empty level for somewhat faster speeds. Emphasizes top speed over acceleration.
    • Powershot is only usable with a full tank, as it empties the tank for a full boost of acceleration, at a sacrifice of some top speed.
    • Jump is a DLC-only variant of Burn nitrous that works better in the air and worse on the ground. The Pro version even produces colored smoke in the air!
  • No One Could Survive That!:
  • Optional Traffic Laws:
    • In the 2005 game, when you attract police attention, your police scanner will let you know if the police are looking for a reckless driver in general, or your car specifically (the difference between "caller did not get a good look" and "suspect is driving a [color] [make]"). If they don't have your vehicle description, and you follow traffic laws, they won't come after you. But when you're in a car that can go 250 miles an hour, driving under 35 is difficult, to say the least. (You're still in first gear! Not even pushing 4000 RPMS!)
    • Averted in the 2012 game, as the police chase you on sight.
  • Pop the Tires: Spike strips.
    • Losing even one tire in the 2005 game is an almost-guaranteed Game Over, but it is still barely possible to escape the cops if you're lucky and good enough.
    • The 2012 game makes them more bearable with the repair shops and the reinflating tires mod.
  • Product Placement: In 2005, the player uses a Cingular (which today would be AT&T) cellphone, and there's plenty of Burger King ads scattered around: shops, ads, even blimps. There was also a Burger King franchise in Camden, and there were even some inaccessible garages themed with Castrol branding on them. Also, let's not forget the many decals of car mod-producing companies such as Brembo and HKS that you can add to your car. At this rate, you can probably create a NASCAR replica!
    • 2012 had a large drive-through "K&N Workshop" that was prominently used in multiplayer, some license plates with promotional descriptions (and thankfully only in descriptions), and there were even ads for the Ford Focus ST, a car found exclusively in multiplayer that happens to be the worst-performing car in the game.
  • Rare Vehicles: In 2005, there was the Porsche 911 GT2, Chevrolet Corvette C6.R and, of course, the BMW M3 GTR (E46).
    • 2012's Ultimate Speed pack was nothing but this. The BMW M3 GTR also reappeared in the mobile version, as well as the Need for Speed Heroes pack in the main version.
  • Road Block: Probably one of the best ways to ramp up your Bounty and Cost-to-State in the 2005 game, and Speed Points in the 2012 game. Just watch out for the spike strips and the S.W.A.T. trucks.
  • Scenery Porn: Averted in 2005, considering how Rockport is a city falling apart. Played straight in 2012, as Fairhaven is a city made to look pretty.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Along with the numerous references to Underground 2, the 2005 game also has a very famous reference to The Professional.
      Cross: I want every single unit after this guy.
      Partner: ...everyone?
      Cross: EVERYONE!
    • One wonders if Blacklist no. 7 (Kira "Kaze" Nakazato) is related to a certain other Nakazato who is also well-known for his temper...
    • The 2012 game has several references to past NFS and Burnout games as shown in the Easter Eggs section of its Need for Speed Wiki article. Fairhaven even has an entire district with Razor's last name on it (Callahan Industrial).
      • The other industrial district in the city? Ripley's Point.
      • Hughes Park and Hughes International Airport take their names from famed tycoon, filmmaker and aviator Howard Hughes.
      • There is a district east of Downtown with a large construction site simply named McClane. Also, the building that contains one of the Jack Spots for the Marussia B2 is named Gruber Plaza (which itself is off Lorenzo Avenue).
      • There's also an Exley Way intersecting with a Vincennes Avenue.
      • "We have a secret agent wannabe in an Aston Martin Vantage."
      • Not to mention the Movie Legends DLC, which brings us the Aston Martin DB5, Aston Martin DBS, Dodge Charger R/T, Shelby GT500 a.k.a. Eleanor, and Pontiac Firebird Trans Am.
      • Most Wanted U on - you guessed it - the Wii U adds three hidden warp pipes from the Super Mario Bros. series scattered across Fairhaven. The first has a blue and red Ariel Atom, the second has a pink Caterham, and the last has a green BAC Mono. All of these are based on the colors of Mario, Princess Peach and Yoshi, respectively. Each of the rooms has items related to each character as well; Mario's has girders from Donkey Kong, Peach's has a crown, and Yoshi's has an egg. Also notice how all the hidden cars are in the track-day car class; the closest thing to go-karts. Even the color schemes match.
      • Additionally, each of the cars have an unlockable license plate that is exclusive to Most Wanted U. Collecting all three unlocks one more license plate with another Nintendo franchise reference.
    • All the parking lots in 2012 are run by the Paved Paradise company. Also counts as a Call-Back to Burnout Paradise, which has the same thing.
  • Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness: 2005 is a 4, as although you have a good amount of freedom to do various events in Rockport, you have goals to follow in order to progress through the career mode. If you don't do enough in events and police chases, then you can't go against the Blacklist members and get your BMW back from Razor. You also have to unlock access to the Camden and Gray Point area, and then Downtown Rockport later on. 2012 on the other hand is a 6, much like its Spiritual Predecessor, as you have the entirety of Fairhaven to explore (barring Hughes International Airport if you don't have Terminal Velocity) from the beginning after that first race, and can complete its events as you please. (Although, you will have to do some events before you can race the "Most Wanted" cars, which are unlocked in order from lowest to highest.)
  • Vanity License Plate:
    • All cars in the 2005 game have "NFSMW" in their license plates. Even the police.
      • Razor also added a vanity license plate to your M3 as shown in a cutscene, spelling - you guessed it - "RAZOR".
    • 2012 has some cars hiding in Jack Spots with dates referring to past release dates for previous Need for Speed games. Also, it's the first game in the series to feature license plates that can be customized by players.
  • The Voiceless: The player of both games.
  • Wanted Meter: The 2005 game introduced the "Heat levels", which ranges from 1, the municipal police Mooks, to 6, the undercover federal police. This was reintroduced to its sequel, Carbon, and followed suit through Undercover, World, and was eventually reused in the 2012 game.
  • Where Do They Get All Those Wonderful Toys?: It's insane to believe that the government would use expensive Corvette C6s (Z06 models in 2012) as FEDERAL cruisers. Since they are reserved to be used against the most dangerous drivers, it's natural for the governmental bill to climb into the millions.
  • Wide Open Sandbox: Courtesy of Rockport and Fairhaven.

     2005 (Black Box) 
  • It's Always Spring: Inverted; the game is actually set during autumn for the entire plot, as evidenced by the orange trees scattered around Rosewood and the leaves spanning across Rockport's streets.
  • Arch Enemies: Razor, Cross, and the Player all hate each other.
  • Ascended Fanboy: Bull. He became Blacklist #2 because of his status as The Dragon to Razor.
  • Adam Smith Hates Your Guts: If you buy any car, and later on try to sell it, buyers will only accept it for half the stock car's original price. That's right - modifications aren't counted.
    • This is actually a Justified Trope in real life, as it's much more easier to sell and fix a car that appears to have came from the factory vs. one that could have modifications of a questionable nature a/or build quality that would take time and effort to decipher a/or fix. In fact, one way to earn more money in Most Wanted is to strip the car of the modified parts, sell them, and then sell the stock car.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Don't be surprised if the police magically forgets where you are, and moves away from you while they're doing a search quadrant. If you're going for a bounty or chase challenge, this can lead to the odd situation of you chasing the police.
  • Big Bad: Razor, of course.
    • Cross also qualifies, although he's more of a secondary villain than a proper one.
  • Bullet Time: The main crux of the Speedbreaker ability.
  • Bullying a Dragon: The whole crux of the storyline. You have already defeated Ronnie, Bull, Rog and two other anonymous racers, yet Razor still continues making fun of you, and his colleagues say you're "all show and no go" even though Razor cheated to win. And they continue to make fun of you even as they see the Blacklist being defeated one by one at your hands.
    • By far, however, the worst offender is Ronnie. You have already defeated him once in the prologue (in which he wasn't even trying to win), defeated hundreds of racers, mowed down entire hordes of police, and took down twelve members of the Blacklist to get to him, and guess what he says when he challenges you?
    Ronnie: "Yeah, it's Ronnie. Look, I don't care what they say about ya, I'm gonna wipe ya all over the road! I'm ready when you are, punk!
  • Camera Screw: When you make a jump, the camera will focus on your car's air moment while simultaneously slowing everything downnote , and when you use a Pursuit Breaker, a similar camera view also shows the resulting damage and all the police cars being completely destroyed... only for you to realize that you couldn't see what's ahead of you, and you either crash into a wall, or worse, drive straight into a spike strip.
  • Casanova Wannabe: Razor, he constantly hits on Mia (even when other girls are around him) and tries to pry her from your side. He fails miserably, but keeps insisting. He even tries to flirt his way out when she is arresting him, and when that fails, he goes in for a kiss, but gets taken away by an officer at this exact moment.
  • Crapsack World: If you take a critical look at Rockport, the amount of illegal street racers is rampant, there's a lot of damage caused by them, and to top it, there's also a lot of economical unbalances in the city.note 
  • Developers' Foresight: There are an awful lot of lines for the police to use when they're chasing you. For instance, it's reasonable for them to call out when you're heading into a small, specific area, such as the bus station. However, there are also different lines if you ever return there. Also, if you hit the car that spots you before its driver can say his first line, rather than chasing you because you're a speeder, he'll say he's chasing you because you rammed him.
  • Difficult, but Awesome: Mastering the Pontiac GTO and the Vauxhall Monaro VXR is considerably tough. Most consider those two cars the worst for races as they have a slower speed, tricky handling, and their acceleration isn't really one of the best. However, if you can work around those flaws, they're the best cars for ramming, especially during pursuits.
  • Difficulty Spike: Quite amusingly present in an actual shape of a spike. The first rivals you beat, Sonny and Taz,note  are laughably easy to defeat. However, when you challenge Vic,note  things start to get tough. Eventually, it goes Up to Eleven at Earl,note  who is considered to be the single hardest opponent to defeat in the game - fitting, as according to his Blacklist bio, he's occupied the #13 spot from not many people being able to beat him. However, afterwards the difficulty begins loosening up, and the later Blacklist members are much easier to defeat than the middle ones (albeit still tougher than the first two).
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul": Never implied in-game, but heavily discussed within the community. Razor Callahan's birth name is Clarence.
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: One of the pursuit breakers is a donut shop, and running over the supports will have the giant donut fall on any cop cars chasing you.
  • The Dragon: Ronnie and Bull are Razor's most prized colleagues, it seems. Although Bull seems to be the preferred one.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: As detailed under Bullying a Dragon. The only one who even somewhat mellows down is, ironically enough, Razor himself.note 
  • Foreshadowing: Despite the game's Excuse Plot, there's some tidbits worth noticing, though you'd need to know the ending to catch them.
    • Rog mentions in one of his messages that Mia has a long record, which would suggest that she's a longtime racer. Then, Mia messages you, stating her surprise at the organization of racers in Rockport, which she never saw. As a racer, she should've seen it, regardless of her participation. This hints as to her not being a racer. Also note the phrasing of the statement...
    Mia: I've rolled these streets for a long time, but I've never known the setup was this tight...
    • Whenever you access your Rap Sheet, you hack into the RPD database. This wouldn't be suspicious, except the account you use? It's Cross's account.
  • Elite Mooks: Undercover police vehicles, who appear at every other heat level. They are harder to disable, have more torque, and are more likely to use the Precision Immobilization Technique than regular police cars.
  • Endless Daytime: The game, which features a sped-up day/night cycle in the game world, starts out in midday, goes to sunset, skips to sunrise, and goes back to midday.
  • Enemy Chatter: You have a connection the police radio, letting you hear the police communicate with each other as they try to take you down. If you take the time to learn the codes, you can also hear them get notified of road blocks and spike strips, letting you prepare for them more easily.
  • Evil Laugh: Razor and his crew when they defeat you in the prologue. Cross also gets his moment once in the game.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Drag races. They are bloated with traffic coming in and out, changing lanes unexpectedly, and the occasional truck or van crossing the road requiring precision timing to nail the passage. It doesn't help that the entire race requires manual shifting and that the car usually refuses to steer no matter what. Here is an example.
  • Fame Gate: Another point of the game, you need to become notorious in the street racing scene in order to proceed.
  • Final Boss: Razor, unsurprisingly.
  • Funny Background Event: Sometimes when you are evading the police and you reach Cooldown, you may hear the police radio say they have managed to arrest a suspect. Unfortunately for that suspect, it's Razor.
  • Hero Antagonist: Sergeant Cross. Although his Cowboy Cop behavior slides him more into Anti-Hero territory.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: If you win Ming'snote  Lamborghini Gallardo, it comes with most of all of the final performance upgrades available for cars that aren't supposed to be unlocked until after you beat Ronnie. The car unmodified from its initial setup is enough to get you through the next few Blacklist targets easy, and it saves you money so you can buy one of the final cars when you need to. You will definitely want to Save Scum for this one.
  • Implacable Man: The player is essentially this in the game. You overcome all odds staked against you, defeat anyone who stands on your way, and never lets up on your mission to give Razor a good beating.
    • Of course, Cross is also this to you, such as in the end where he gets the entire police force to chase you.
  • In Medias Res: The prologue is exactly like this. It starts in the first race between you and Razor, then as soon as Mia notifies you of the leaking oil, the game skips back six days earlier to show how you got tangled in all of this mess.
  • Jerkass: Razor. a bossy, cheating sore loser who doesn't seem to be too thankful for its entourage..
  • Level in Reverse: A few tracks are exactly the opposite of another one, with the only other difference being the name.
  • MacGuffin: The BMW M3 GTR that Razor took from you.
  • Mighty Glacier: Challenge #46 featured a cost-to-state mission where the player has to drive a garbage truck. Sure, it's hilariously slow, but its' huge size makes it very easy for taking down any cop that dares get in your way.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Mia has the tendency to wear clothes that don't cover much of her body. This is taken to the apex in the first race against Razor in the prologue, where she is wearing a bikini top. Never mind that it's autumn, considering how most characters seem to have no problem in wearing T-shirts.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Blacklist is apparently fond of these: Taz, Big Lou, Kamikaze, Bull, and Razor.
    • Of course, there are the aversions. "Sonny" isn't likely to frighten anyone.
    • Another aversion is "Earl", which is considered by some players as a formidable Blacklist member.
    • Lampshaded in the PSP version 5-1-0; the Deadpan Snarker who writes each Blacklist member's bio sarcastically mentions it must have taken him all night to come up with that name.
  • New Weapon Target Range: After the final race against Razor, the player is back in control of the BMW that was the game's Taste of Power, but it's better than ever and supremely upgraded. Good thing too, because your wanted level just rose to 6. Every. Single. Unit. of the police force is chasing after you in a climatic playable Chase Scene which ends with you performing a literal Broken Bridge Ramp Jump that the police can't make.
  • Nintendo Hard: Dear Lord, Earl's boss race.
    • The whole game, arguably, due to a very notable case of Rubber Band A.I.. Compare the AIs time if you total your car in a drag race, to you completing the event.
  • Old Save Bonus: As detailed above, you'll get $10,000 if you have Underground 2 installed on your computer or have a save file on your console's memory card, allowing you to use the Volkswagen Golf as your Second Hour Superpower.
  • Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Ronnie, blacklist #3. His poses, his clothes, his car, his mannerisms, speech patterns, everything about him screams "White trash, gangsta wannabe" Lampshaded by his Blacklist bio.
    Rog: You know Ronnie, he's one of those rich freaks that think he's ghetto...
  • Press Xto Die: During police chases, the player's car can be flipped over. If you reset your vehicle in this situation (by pressing the "R" button on default settings), the pursuit bar will fill up automatically and UNREALISTICALLY quickly to the "busted" sector, giving you absolutely no time to react and leaving you hopeless while the cops arrest you and take you in custody.
  • Real Is Brown: This was abused very much by the game, to promote a "ghetto" feeling of a corrupt city. This is even more present in cutscenes, and taken Up to Twelve in beta screenshots.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: Razor claims the player character is working with the cops. It's obvious to the player and to Rog that this is transparent slander. It's revealed in the final pursuit that Mia was an undercover cop all along, shadowing you as a gambit to arrest Razor.
  • Second Hour Superpower: The Lexus IS-300, the Fiat Punto and the Chevrolet Cobalt SS are all options for you at the end of the prologue. Additionally, if you played the previous game (Underground 2) on a non-Xbox 360 platform, the Volkswagen Golf is added to the roster.
  • Slo-Mo Big Air: As detailed in Camera Screw.
  • Sore Loser: Razor; it's bad enough that the guy's a cheating bastard who gyps you out of your precious ride at the start of the game by cutting the gas line. Once you rise through the ranks and beat him in a fair race (while he's in your prized ride, no less), the guy tries to sic his cronies on you after you win. Luckily, Mia is there to prevent this from happening. Helps that she also happens to be an undercover cop.
  • True Final Boss: Cross and the entire Rockport police force.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Turns out that Razor was sort of right all along about you working for the police, although since you're legitimately not a cop, you didn't know what was going on until after you beat him.
  • Villain Protagonist: The Player. After all, racing is a crime. Which makes his rivalry with Razor to be Evil vs. Evil, or at the very best, Black and Grey Morality.
  • The Voice: Rog. We only hear is gruff voice, and race him just once, yet he's always with you all the way from Sonny up to Razor himself. He never shows his face.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Foreshadowed in the first stages. Rog calls you up to tell that someone is spreading a rumor that you're working for the police. Later on, Razor calls you and reveals his identity in which he was the one who's accusing you of working for the 5-O. He then "turns the tables" and gets the car you're using to Police Heat Level 5, the highest at the time. Then, at the final stage, Razor is so desperate that he calls you to attempt to insult you, but just demonstrates that he's flipping out.

     2012 (A Criterion Game
  • Automatic New Game: Like Burnout Paradise, the game starts with an unskippable cutscene showing what you can do in the city, and then you off in your first car. This time however, the game expects you to be holding on to the accelerator, because you're already out on the road driving your first car! Most Wanted 2012 will also automatically load your latest autosave should you return to the game.
  • Benevolent Architecture: Like Paradise City, Fairhaven has loads of structures that are used as jumps, especially for those billboards. The most notable ones have to be the large ring structures in front the Managio hotel in Downtown and Hughes International Airport from the Terminal Velocity DLC.
  • Cap: Two caps; the highest SpeedLevel players can reach is seventy-one (though it can be reset to zero once, see New Game+), while the maximum amount of Speed Points players can get is fifty million.
  • Composite Character:
    • Well, not character per se, but the repair shops in Fairhaven City combine Paradise City's repair shops, gas stations, and (only in single-player) paint shops all in one convenient location.
    • The game itself. It combines Need for Speed's real-life Cool Cars, pursuits and car tuning with Burnout Paradise and its completely open world, stunt-based racing and lack of a plot.
  • Crutch Character: The pre-modified "Need for Speed Edition" cars in multiplayer. While the modifications they come with are useful when getting started, they cannot be modified further in any manner, even with improved versions of the modifications they came with.
  • David vs. Goliath: Certain "Hard" races involve racing against much more powerful cars. This is more likely if the car you are driving has a very distinct niche.
    • The Ariel Atom 500 V8's variation of "Turbulence" has opponents such as the Koenigsegg Agera R and the McLaren F1 XP-5, as well as some sports cars. The track features a long straight where the Atom will struggle to keep up with, even with the Long Gears mod, but the second half has a lot of turns, where its powerful acceleration and cornering gives it an edge.
  • Downloadable Content: Along with the day-one Timesavers Pack and the mod unlock packs, this game received four DLC packs:
    • The Ultimate Speed Pack released on December 18, 2012 added five cars that had limited production runs, although a couple of them are variants of cars already in the games. The standard cars of the pack are the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse, the Lamborghini Aventador J, the McLaren F1 LM, and the Pagani Zonda R, while the "Most Wanted" car is the Veyron Super Sport-rivaling Hennessey Venom GT Spyder. This pack was included in Most Wanted U as standard, but the Wii U version didn't receive any of the other DLC packs.
    • The other three paid DLC were released on the same day; February 26, 2013.
      • The Terminal Velocity Pack added a whole new area to explore in northeastern Fairhaven; a semi-completed airport called Hughes International Airport. It also added four everyday-class cars (the Alfa Romeo Mito QV, Audi RS 3, BMW 1 Series M Coupe, and Ford Fiesta ST) to drive in and the production version of the 2013 Porsche 918 Spyder with racing vinyls is the "Most Wanted" car.note 
      • The Movie Legends Pack contains vehicles that were made famous in different films: two Aston Martins (the DB5 and the DBS), the Dodge Charger R/T, the Pontiac Firebird Trans Am "Blackbird" and the pack's "Most Wanted" car, the 1967 Shelby GT500.
      • The Need for Speed Heroes Pack contains cars that were on the covers of some NFS games: the Lamborghini Diablo SV from Need for Speed III: Hot Pursuit, a Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 V-Spec II based on Eddie's 2000 Skyline from Need for Speed: Underground, a 2006 Nissan 350Z based on Rachel Teller's 2003 model from Need for Speed: Underground 2, a Porsche 911 GT2 (997) based on Rose Largo's Porsche from Need for Speed: Undercover, and what else fits the "Most Wanted" title in this pack but the leading BMW M3 GTR (E46) from the 2005 game. Also unique to the cars in this pack is that they each have five different liveries instead of colors; "Urban", "Street", "Race", "Abstract", and "Hero", with the "Hero" liveries being based on their original NFS appearances.note 
    • Also, in the United States, EA held a special promotion with Slim Jim. Specially-marked packages of the beef jerky had codes that allowed players to unlock content in certain EA games. Most Wanted 2012's Slim Jim content unlocked a 2012 Dodge Charger SRT8 for use in multiplayer only.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Cops in this game have way more reasons to trigger a pursuit than in the 2005 game. Things like barely touching their car, doing burnouts in their sights or just not getting out of their way (after being asked to do so with their horns) will provoke a swarm of cops to go towards you.
  • Fictional Counterpart: Interstate 92 is this to the real life Interstate 93. It goes through the downtown district of the city from underneath,note  cuts through a mountainous area,note  and they even have a exit that goes to a road named after someone with a Polish surname that provides direct access to a city's main airport.note 
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: 2012's Captain Ersatz of FedEx is called GoodsEx. They specialise in packages, apparently.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Developed It: The A Criterion Game subtitle was added to the cover and title screen to differentiate it from the original. It also appears in the Metacritic entries for their game's PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation Vita, and PC versions, with a dash separating the subtitle from the actual name to avoid Colon Cancer.
  • The Juggernaut: The Lenco Bearcat (or better known as the SWAT truck) that appears at Heat Level 6. Attempts to ram it at high speed will most likely result in you getting taken down. It will mow down any vehicle that happens to get in its way. Although it is possible to take it down, doing so is time-consuming.
  • New Game+: Not in the single-player (the game is too nonlinear for that), but the multiplayer has one of sorts in the form of Concours. If you reach SpeedLevel 71, then you have the option to reset your SpeedLevel to zero (taking away your cars, mods, and milestones) in order to get special milestones, new license plate designs, and a gold border for your license plate.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: From the moment the game begins, there's no plot whatsoever. You have the objective to defeat the Blacklist but there's no stated reason to do so (other than getting their cars) or why your character is racing. All that is explained is that you find abandoned cars in the overworld, race with them and earn more cars and upgrades, with pursuits in-between.
  • Sequence Breaking: You don't really have to beat each Most Wanted driver sequentially. As long as you have enough SpeedPoints, you can challenge Most Wanted #1 before #10.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Burnout Paradise. Collectables? Check. Wicked jumps? Check. Menus that can be navigated without pausing? Check. Big emphasis on online multiplayer? Definitely. Instant repair shops? Yep, and they change your car's paint in single-player. DLC packs that added cars (including a pack that references pop culture icons) and even a new area? You bet. No Plot? No Problem! Even the 2012 game's cover is inspired by the Paradise cover.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Your car getting a fresh coat of paint from driving through a repair shop at 150 MPH doesn't seem to phase the cops, who matter-of-factly report the change of color.

Copy 92, detailing tropes now.
Dispatch, the suspect evaded indexing twenty minutes ago.
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